Everything LEGO Movie: The Second Part

I still believe the LEGO Movie was the surprise hit of 2014. It was funny, heartfelt, oddly inspirational, and brilliantly animated. But what made the LEGO movie special? It gets better every time you watch it, a very rare quality for animated movies. The animation and writing were phenomenal, and—to spoil nothing—the ending made what would have otherwise still been a very good licensed movie into a feat of storytelling, subverting expectations and genuinely touching the hearts of audiences of all ages. How can LEGO follow up on a licensed movie that defied all expectations, and can only be called a phenomenon? Fast forward five years to the release of The LEGO Movie: The Second Part, and all of the high expectations that come with it.

Image : Warner Bros

Let’s start off by talking about what worked with this movie; we can easily bring up how refreshing it was to watch a sequel NOT try to replicate the success of the first film by copying the formula. The LEGO Movie: The Second Part makes a clear statement that this film tells its own unique story—even if that story isn't all that great. Director Mike Mitchell clearly understands that the key to become a successful master model builder is staying creative.

That being said, I don't know if venturing into musical storytelling was the right call for this film. As someone who truly loves musicals, I don’t think LEGO characters lend themselves much to the genre. Specifically, my doubts are exemplified in the number "Not Evil," performed by—yes, you’re reading this right—Tiffany Haddish. The song brought this odd moment of hatred as I watched the number unfold, and yet at the same time, I wasn’t sure if I actually hated it. I don’t think musical writers are trying to go for the feeling of “baffled self-conflict” when they write music, but unfortunately that is the emotion that almost every number in the movie made me feel (though never as strongly as Not Evil). I want to say that the music has the potential to grow on me, but I’m just not interested in ever listening to this soundtrack again. However, I will admit "Everything's Not Awesome" fit perfectly within the story as a foil to the first film’s breakout song, and genuinely gave me goosebumps. It was actually my favorite part of the entire film.

Image: Warner Bros

The LEGO Movie: The Second Part just wasn't quite what I hoped it would be. It wasn't comedically perfect like The LEGO Batman movie, or a clever masterpiece like the original LEGO Movie. It really was just… an ok movie. Ironically, this sequel was pretty much exactly what I thought the LEGO Movie would be back in 2014. The animation is still gorgeous and standout, and production team made a very consistent quality film. Nonetheless, the jokes were predictable (except for some new character and setpiece names, which were clever), and the story never made me feel invested in the characters. In fact, I figured out exactly how the story would unfold within the first 20 minutes.

Image: Warner Bros

Despite my opinions, I want to make clear that The LEGO Movie: The Second Part is a joyous watch for families. Hardcore LEGO fans and kids of all ages will enjoy the adventure they've been waiting on for five years. I just don’t think that this sequel is meant for non-LEGO fans. And honestly? There’s nothing wrong with that.The LEGO Movie: The Second Part expands on the first film in a fine way. I still greatly appreciate the amount of work that went into the building of this film, and a talented cast and crew brought something fun and special to the screen. No, this installment doesn’t capture the lightning in a bottle experience that was the original LEGO Movie, but we can always count on one thing: LEGO always brings a fun time.

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Spencer Carrol